There’s no doubt that the mid-season addition of Chris Andersen was one of the most important factors in the Miami Heat winning the NBA title, as it turned out during the playoffs, which naturally leads to the team wanting to re-sign the backup big man.
Andersen himself, who was released by the Denver Nuggets last season using the amnesty clause (clearing $9 million for two years from the salary cap), has already said he wants to be back for a three-peat, but money might become an issue.
Andersen was signed on a $1.4 million veterans-minimum for half the season in Miami, and as much as they would like to keep him, there’s a very good chance he’ll be able to make much more on the open market. The Heat can re-sign him, but being around $15 million over the luxury tax means that Andersen becomes a very expensive comoditty they might not be able to afford.
They’ve been also considering Greg Oden as a big man off the bench next season, which isn’t an expensive move, but a risky move, considering Oden has played in only 82 NBA games since being drafted by the Blazers in 2007.
But another survey of the market might show that Andersen isn’t going to be as desirable as initially thought. He’s turning 35 in two weeks, which means teams that aren’t going to contend for the NBA title aren’t going to be very interested. He won’t get that much more than whatever the Heat offer him, and in any case, the difference between the taxpayer mid-level exception and the portion of the non-taxpayer Andersen could get probably isn’t significant enough to make his head spin.
For the Miami Heat, Andersen fits a very specific yet necessary role, eventually playing 15 minutes a night for the team during the postseason, with his energy and defense just as important as what they got in numbers from him: 6.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Andersen was up & down in terms of his use during the Finals, at some point out of the rotation (not playing in two games) but finding himself in a very vital role during the last two games, playing almost 19 minutes in the clinching game 7.